A faster Second Life with more RAM

After I installed an additional 4GB of RAM is discovered that my windows version doesn’t use it to the max. I’m running Windows 7 32bit (x86). Running Second Life doesn’t need that much RAM at all so I tried to get the max from it anyway.

This article speaks mostly of the X86 version of Windows. Some could be applicable for x64.

One of the differences between Windows X86 (32 bit) and x64 (64bit) is the way they look at RAM. The X86 version can address a max of 4 GB for programs and the X64 version can address 16 GB. That also depends much on the hardware. The specification of my motherboard tells me that I can’t put more as 8 GB in my machine.

There is a hack so that the X86 version can handle more as 4 GB (…) but that is a bad idea since it could make your machine very unstable. On browsing through the Internet many believe it’s a licencing issue, but, if you have a legal version of Windows 7 you are licenced to either use x86 or x64 on your machine. You could always reinstall Windows x64 if you want to.

Second Life runs just as fast on X86 as on x64. With the X64 version you could run 100 more programs simultaneously but I don’t think that would make your machine any faster, but, with sufficient RAM it would be possible.

The x86 can handle more as 4 GB RAM when your hardware allows that.  Next to that Windows will use that RAM, as a giant disk cache. System properties should show the amount of installed RAM, if not, your hardware can’t handle it, perhaps a change in BIOS could change that.

System properties also shows the amount of memory available. If you have installed 8 GB ram you will be shocked as it shows a value of well below 4 GB. However Available means available for programs. Windows will use the rest as a disk cache and to optimise your graphics card.

Here some tweaks for Windows 7 x86 with more as 4GB RAM. You’ll need to be logged in as Administrator and System properties should show the correct amount of installed RAM.

  • Make a System restore point.
  • in CMD type bcdedit /set pae ForceEnable | This forces Windows to be able to address above the 4 GB limit.
  • In CMD type bcdedit /set nolowmem on | This forces to load Windows and the drivers above 4 GB.
  • There is no need to change [ nx ] or [ increaseuserva ].
  • Restart the machine and if it chokes you can use the System restore point to recover

If you have ever disabled SuperFetch, enable it, even when you have less as 4GB.  If you don’t know what SuperFetch is, you don’t have to. There is also no need to change LargeSystemCache or other registry keys. Most of the Amazing tweaks are not applicable to Windows 7, or are just meaningless. If your hardware supports more as 4 GB, Windows will use it.

If you have sufficient RAM, 4 GB or more, you can make a RAM disk. For that I am using Dataram RAM disk. It’s free with a limitation I’ll never stumble on.

Now I have been experimenting with various setups. I also discovered some nasty BSOD’s and worse. So…Don’t use it for Pagefile. Don’t use it for Readyboost. Don’t put NTFS on it.

  • Install the ramdisk as FAT 32 with a size of max 1024 MB.
  • In Advanced tab click the Above 4 GB option. (if you have more as 4 GB)
  • Find the Second Life directory and copy the whole directory to the ramdisk.
  • Copy the Second Life shortcut you use, rename it to RAM Second Life.
  • Change the shortcut Target pointing towards the ramdrive, also change the Start in directory.
  • Run Second Life using the new shortcut once.
  • Use the Dataram setup and Save Disk Image Now.
  • Have Dataram load that image during startup, don’t let it save during shutdown.
  • You will have to redo these steps when there is a Second Life viewer update.

I have discovered that Second Life doesn’t like it’s cache in a ramdisk, forcing a reload of the cache each time you start Second Life.

Start Second Life from the new shortcut and enjoy a faster Second Life.

# The BSOD’s came from the ramdisk disconnecting while being in use during shutdown. I tried to dismount during shutdown and mount during startup causing a list of errors, a reset of BIOS and Windows telling me it was illegal.

About vickforcella

Second Life resident. Baron of Kweyol. Owner of YCHMTY. More profiles here: https://my.secondlife.com/vick.forcella http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Vick_Forcella
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One Response to A faster Second Life with more RAM

  1. slutrix says:

    On Linux, there are 32-bit distributions that benefit from a PAE (Physical Address Extension) kernel which allows a 32-bit system to address more than 4GB of RAM. Of course, Linux is another environment…

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